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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Gore Galore

MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN: ***NO REAL SPOILERS***
Proof you can watch too many movies: I was on the tube the other day. It was late and pretty quiet. I'd watched The Midnight Meat Train a couple of days' before, so obviously I was somewhat concerned about general serial killer action. However the only people in my carriage was an old woman with a copy of weirdly, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and a teenage Goth who didn't look as if s/he was possessed so much as by Satan, but My Chemical Romance. I was pretty safe I reckoned. Got to Waterloo, the doors open and......THERE'S VINNIE JONES!!!!

On a poster.

Phew.

Coming out in the same week as Bond 22 aka Quantum of Solace, Midnight Meat Train may not do so well on theatrical release. I don't *do* Bond darlink (I don't think I've sat through one since I was a child and it had Roger Moore and Grace Jones in, I don't even know the title and can't be arsed to trail through the list on IMDB because I'm too lazy), but I had figured I would like Midnight Meat Train. After all, I was a die-hard Clive Barker enthusiast as a teenager; I must have read Imajica and Weaveworld fourteen times each between the ages of 15 and 21. And I did ultimately enjoy it - there are some good things about MMT I thought. It has a cracking opener which bookends the film rather nicely (if somewhat predictably) and some superb gore in places, even if the film does work on the basis that the human body is as pliable and easy to cut through as butter. But hey: why not?! This is horror, baby! Let's see some hardcore and splatter-tastic DEATH.

Although being a horror fan, I've always been more on the "stab/slash/shining teeth then CUT" side, than actual gore. I've never really watched serial killer movies (bar the usual suspects, Halloween and the like), so I've been watching a lot of splattery movies lately for inspiration on my own Gore Horror. I'm struck with the fact that so many fall on the side of "This is a highly implausible situation, so the characters will thus behave implausibly." Characters can change so radicallty, so quickly: our protagonist in Mifdnight Meat Train for example goes from normal to mental in nought to sixty. That doesn't mean the gore isn't still good or the general flow of the narrative isn't satisfactory, but it does mean I can't get *wholly* on board because I can't believe in the journey of the character.

One thing I like about horror is the idea that I would behave in the same way if I was confronted with such a bad THING (whether it's a serial killer, a monster, an alien invasion etc). Of course, I have no idea whether I would be able to create fantastic and fanciful plans, make wise cracks or cry like a baby (most likely the latter), but in my head I would be as tough and honourable as Ripley with the ability to kick ass like Arnie. When a character changes radically then, I feel like a part of the film is missing - as if I've blinked and someone's switched the reels in a nanosecond.

Most of us will never meet a serial killer, never mind an alien, werewolf or other creature. Just because your character is in an implausible situation doesn't mean they can behave implausibly. The audience still has to believe a character will do and say the things they're doing, whether it's a nihilistic drama, a madcap comedy or a hardcore horror. It's not that they have to be REALISTIC either, movies are a representation of reality: if your characters' actions have logic within your narrative and go at a steady pace that builds up (even if they turn mad or bad), then you can do anything you want. It's when you switch them from one thing to another in the space of a few scenes that people can't invest in that character.

So: what other Gore Horror movies can I watch that will inspire me? They don't have to be great, they can even be horribly bad if they'll teach me what NOT to do in this genre. Over to you...

13 comments:

Anya said...

I watched Midnight Meat Train too and couldn't believe it when the girl FELL OVER running out of the killer's apartment. I felt ready to kill something myself!!!

evil twinz said...

To be fair Anya, the actress looked like she actually fell over to me and kept going, rather than fell over within the actual movie, if that makes sense. In general though MMT didn't work for me, though I had high hopes from the opener, *sigh*.

Have you watched Hostel 1 and 2 for this splatter fest of yours, Luce?

Lucy said...

The opener was defo one of the best bits Evil - and I thought the actress looked like she actually fell over for real too, Anya... Myself, I always thought IN THE FLESH from the Books of Blood would make a great movie, I think it was book number 4 but I could be wrong. DOWN, SATAN was excellent too.

Haven't seen Hostel yet by the way - am a little freaked out by the thought of it! There's that other one too with wotserface out of Underworld in the hotel room too, isn't there?

Footy51 said...

SPOILLLERRRRRSSSSSS!

Lucy said...

OMG, people falling over is surely not a spoiler??? And I've mentioned nothing of what actually happens in the opener or what the protagonist actually does in the post itself. Should I mention that Vinnie Jones is not the protagonist? Or is that a spoiler too?? ARGH.

Chris Regan said...

Switchblade Romance is a good one. And the remake of Hills Have Eyes by the same director is also good.

I wish I had gone to see Midnight Meat Train instead of Quantum of Solace this weekend.

Elinor said...

I liked MMT and reviewed it for Napalm. Though bit of a thankless task for the woman playing Maya. Vinnie was good though.

Not really a horror per se but interesting in that there were good roles for women was 'Silent Hill' which I only watched because because my son-in-law raved about the game. I knew nothing of the story but was quite impressed.

Lucy said...

Yes Chris, I've heard Quantum "sucks AND blows" according to one of my friends. Dunno what the hell he means but certainly sounds off-putting.

Elinor - I agree, yet another female with little to do in a horror. How unusual. However, at least she gets more screen time than poor Brooke Shields.

Chris Regan said...

I could list horror films all day, but on the point of good roles for women in a horror film and lots of gore, The Descent ticks both those boxes. And it is also excellent.

Lucy said...

Good point Chris - though last time I watched it I had to sleep with the light on for a month! Lol

pilot48 said...

A View to a Kill

Footy51 said...

"It has a cracking opener which bookends the film rather nicely" tells me what to expect for the ending, not specifically yes, but it's flagged it up for me. And Anya's first comment.

Lucy said...

Pilot - that's the one!

Footy - I'm sorry two oblique comments have told you what to expect when you obviously didn't want to, but neither my comment nor Anya's are *real* spoilers as far as I'm concerned, hence my putting "no real spoilers" at the top of the post

: )